Kibbutz capitalism

Sdot Yam is a fine example of successfully combining the best of the capitalist and socialist models.

November 14, 2012 13:09
1 minute read.
A view of Kibbutz Be’eri.

kibbutz companies_311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

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There is broad agreement that as a system for generating and distributing wealth, free-market capitalism is badly flawed, in Israel and abroad. But what can replace it? To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s famous quote about democracy, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried,” capitalism is indeed a bad system, except for all the others.

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Britain’s Economist business magazine noted recently that while most people worldwide have been hurt by the global slowdown, the world’s billionaires (whose total wealth amounts to a staggering $26 trillion, or 38 percent of world GDP) saw their combined wealth rise by 14 percent just last year alone.

According to the US Forbes magazine, Israel has 13 billionaires – a very large number for a small country. In contrast, China, whose population is almost 200 times greater than Israel, has only 95.

If capitalism is indeed the unequal sharing of wealth while socialism is the equal sharing of poverty, could some hybrid of capitalism and socialism create a more equal sharing of wealth? I found a possible answer in an unlikely place – Kibbutz Sdot Yam, 42 kilometers south of Haifa.

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